Griffin Gazette reviews LAUSD Staff Improv Show

Eight journalism students share their opinions on Los Al’s first district-wide improv show
Journalism students in the PAC with their advisor, Mrs. Franzen, who performed in the improv show.
Journalism students in the PAC with their advisor, Mrs. Franzen, who performed in the improv show.
Ms. Wels

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — This Wednesday, March 13, the Griffin Gazette attended the first ever Los Alamitos Unified School District Staff Improv Show. Teachers and admin from Oak Middle School, McAuliffe Middle School, Rossmoor Elementary, Hopkinson Elementary, Los Alamitos Elementary, and Los Alamitos High School performed, including journalism’s teacher advisor, Mrs. Franzen. 

Ticket sales went toward funding Los Al drama’s trip to nationals. The show was hosted by Los Al Live improv coach Mr. Barker and judged by Superintendent Dr. Pulver and Dr. Weiss-Wright from the district office. Here’s what some of our Gazette staffers thought of the show. 

Issy Steinberg

Yes, we have an improv team. And they’re really good. I went into the show not really knowing who the competing teachers were or what the show was about, but I came in prepared to laugh.

The first half of the show started with four teams competing head to head. Different games were played by each of the teams, and the audience got to choose their relationship, occupation, location, and all the normal things you think of when you think “improv.” The audience was yelling out some strange answers, but I really got scared when I heard a little girl yell “Stanley!”, as in the viral Stanley cup. If you know, you know.

The show went on for about an hour before the intermission, and even though the show was split into two parts, that wasn’t the only thing that split. I was totally caught off guard when Mr. Friedman-Finch flew into the split position. I actually felt my jaw fall to the floor. That was by far the best part. He also amped up the show with his funny jokes about pickling balls while he was supposed to be talking about pickleball in one of the team challenges.

Owen Silverman

I wasn’t too sure what to expect when going to the improv show since I hadn’t been to one before, but it was extremely fun seeing everyone’s performances.

One of my favorite games was Emotional Party, where each of the players was assigned a random emotion from the audience that they had to adopt, and when someone entered the stage, everyone in the room had to adopt the emotion of the person who just came in.

The game that was my least favorite was Sit Stand Kneel Lie. Everyone in the scene had to be either sitting, standing, kneeling, or lying down, but no two people could be in the same stance simultaneously. This game was not as funny as the others since there was not much of a story.

At one point, Mr. Barker started Minute to Give It, where people from the audience had a minute to donate as much money as they could to help fund the Los Al drama team’s trip to nationals. The audience ended up donating over $1,000, which was enough to send one of the drama students to nationals for free.

Olivia Cooks

Los Al’s staff improv show was really fun and hilarious. I’m not very familiar with improv and have only really seen it on TV shows, so I walked into the PAC with low expectations and walked out with a completely different perspective on improv.

The pickleball bit was my personal favorite and was unexpected but made me laugh pretty hard; who knew the sport could be turned into a comedy scene? Honestly, the spelling bee was my least favorite skit and didn’t make much sense to me, especially since a lot of the words were pretty basic or normal like “dog.” To be fair, it’s considerably difficult to make a spelling bee funny whilst still being family-friendly.

Kalea Davies

I decided to go into the PAC with no bias… except being a huge fan of our wonderful journalism teacher Mrs. Franzen. Even with my lack of knowledge and slight favoritism, I thought the show was a delightful way to spend a Wednesday evening. The games were interesting and the judges, Dr. Pulver and “Ryan Renolds” (Dr. Weiss-Wright), made some questionable decisions but had great commentary.

My favorite game was Emotional Party. The Oak and LAE team had to mimic the emotions of petty, romantic, happy, or confused when a team member walked into their tea party. The party included surprising dance moves, remarks about lady fingers, confused faces, and critical comments. It was a hilarious scene to watch and one of the highlights of the night.

Layla Martinez

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the teachers’ performances, but I started laughing as soon as the show began. In my opinion, Two Line Vocab was the most entertaining act. In this sketch, the exuberant group of high school teachers had to think under pressure, and the bits they produced had the entire audience giggling. The younger kids in the crowd were filled with joy as they watched the Los Al staff perform. At the end of the day, when teachers put a smile on a kid’s face, it’s always a success.

Some of my favorite teachers at the night that had me constantly laughing were Mrs. Castigilione, Mr. Miko, and Mr. Lynes. Mr. Barker put on a great show as host and did an excellent job of keeping the audience entertained.

Sydney Forsyte

LAUSD’s teachers gave a memorable performance at last night’s improv show. While I disagreed with some of the decisions made by the judges, it was a fairly lively and engaging show.

The game Two Line Vocab was my personal favorite. Los Al teachers had to act out a sketch with three out of four of their members using two lines given to them by Mr. Barker. The teachers came up with a very funny sketch where Los Al’s drama teacher, Ms. Castiglione, pretended to be a Walmart supervisor exasperated with training her three new employees, Ms. Wels, Mrs. Franzen, and Ms. Grimshaw.

My personal least favorite game was What Are You Doing? Players had to act out an activity while responding with a different activity than the one they were actually doing. I found that one a bit repetitive, but the teachers made an admirable effort to make it fun. All in all, the show was a very enjoyable way to spend a Wednesday night.

Bella Kim

I had a great time at the improv show, and it was a perfect, fun outing for journalism to hang outside of class and support Mrs. Franzen. There was a large sense of community in the audience.

I enjoyed Four Rooms, where pairs of players pretended they were in different settings and had to pick up their scene with the last line from the previous scene. I liked the Disneyland skit between Mr. Vierra and Mrs. Cochrane from Rossmoor because they joked about what makes Disneyland the unhappiest place on Earth (the long lines and mice running everywhere).

In the final game, Party Quirks, Mr. Lynes performed a hilarious impression of Dr. Pulver. I look forward to the district-wide improv show becoming a highly anticipated annual tradition for Los Alamitos.

Katie Arnoult

I loved the improv show! I was laughing the entire time; I was definitely impressed. It was really fun to go with friends, and I was surprised at how many Los Al families showed up to support the teachers on stage.

One of my favorite games was Emotional Party – I loved it when the “happy” emotion walked into the room at the end, and suddenly it became a crazy dance party. Top-notch improv! This show did not disappoint me at all, and I would recommend that everyone go to next year’s LAUSD Staff Improv Show.

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